Ways to Complement Yoga with Cardio
Posted: Jul 10, 2019
Even with its many benefits and despite popular perception, there is no definitive answer to whether or not regular yoga counts as cardio exercise. While breathing exercises are central to yoga, they rarely require the same kind of exertion as full-blown cardio exercises.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of cardio a day. Given that yoga doesn’t definitively count as cardio, this means you may want to complement with conventional exercise in order to get the most out of it.
We outlined a few ways you can do just that below. If you’re already doing cardio interested in trying yoga, check out this list of the top yoga brands that you should consider.
A big reason a lot of people choose yoga over other exercises is because it’s relatively low impact, making it easy on the joints. This is especially important for older students and those with limited mobility.
With this in mind, swimming is possibly the best complementary exercise to most types of yoga, as it is a similarly low impact activity. Like yoga, swimming forces you to consider your breathing and also strengthens muscles that would not normally receive any exercise.
Yoga itself also has benefits for swimmers, especially for those who swim competitively. There are yoga routines specifically made for swimmers to improve their strength and range of motion, which are important for performing strokes effectively. The practice also improves body awareness, which has benefits for swimmers, but virtually anyone from all walks of life.
Master sun salutation
Sun salutation is probably the most well-known sequence there is, for good reason. It’s fairly simple and exercises all the muscle groups. This makes it a go-to for beginner classes and it’s a popular way to start longer, more advanced sessions.
While intermediate practitioners may find it boring or basic, there are plenty of nuances to master, and it’s an excellent sequence for raising your heart rate as well. The large movements will require your muscles to use more oxygenated blood, which in turn causes an increase in heart rate.
While it’s certainly not as intensive a cardio exercise as swimming, biking, or running, it’s certainly a good way to start off your session, as you will be able to bump up the benefits you get from subsequent sequences after. Check out this resource on sun salutation.
Ditch the car
Cardio is something that’s best done regularly. It’s better to do small increments daily than to do a lot of it once a week. Consider walking or biking to and from work if possible to bump up your daily amount of cardio exercise. This will not only allow you to complement your yoga sessions with some real honest-to-goodness cardio, but you will be able to apply your yoga learnings such as body awareness and proper breathing as well.
Yoga alone usually isn’t enough for most people in order to be healthier on a truly holistic level. But by adding just a bit of cardio, you can easily get the best of all worlds. Make sure to consider which cardio exercises deliver the least impact to your joints for a much safer experience.
Sally is an enthusiastic blogger and marketing manager. She maintains keen interest in progress and development in the marketing and business space.